Tuesday, 14 February 2017

My folks are in town

My parents had their first trip to Asia last week - Vietnam for 10 days followed by their long awaited visit to Singapore. Their Vietnam leg was all organised for them through an agent so they had requested I do the same for them for Singapore. Challenge accepted. Here's what we got up to:

Day 1: Dinner along the promenade, MBS Light Show, Garden Rhapsody. 

Garden Rhapsody
Garden Rhapsody

Day 2:
Gardens by the Bay, cocktails at Bar Stories on Haji Lane, dinner at Level 33


Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

Cocktails
Bar Stories

Level 33
Blowing away 33 floors up...

Level 33

Day 3: National Museum of Singapore, cocktails at Raffles, more cocktails at the National Gallery's Smoke and Mirrors bar, dinner along Clarke Quay

Singapore Slings at Raffles
Singapore Slings at Raffles

Smoke and Mirrors
View from Smoke and Mirrors

Day 4: Brunch at Jones' the Grocer and shopping on Dempsey hill, lunch and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in China town, Botanic Gardens

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens or La La Land?

Day 5: Mani/pedi followed by Afternoon Tea at The Fullerton Bay's Landing Point


It was a really sad farewell as I won't now see them for another 10 months. However, it was great to show them my life here and I'm so happy I now have Singapore experiences and memories with them <3

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Diving with Thresher Sharks in the Phillipines

As it was Chinese New Year, Singapore gave everyone a long weekend which Phil and I used to head over to to Malapascua Island, just north of Cebu in the Philippines.

We caught the 8pm flight landing in Cebu at 1am... we then had a 3 hour drive up to Maya port, a 45 minute boat ride to Malapascua Island, then finally a half hour walk to our resort just as the sun was rising over the island.


Sunrise in Malapascua
Sunrise in Malapascua

Although it was a long way to travel, it was well worth it. I liked the Spanish vibe and it's off the beaten track making it far less touristy than other places I've gone to like Bali or Thailand.  

We did four dives over the two days we were there - two of which were pretty incredible. (We dived with Evolution Divers who I would highly recommend)


Diving Malapascua Island


1. The Monad Shoal. We were up and in the water at the crack of dawn to watch majestic Thresher Sharks enjoy their morning cleaning session. Apparently the sharks go to the Monad Shoal almost every morning to wait for the cleaner fish to nibble all their parasites and dead skin away. Thrshers are pretty rare so I feel pretty lucky to have got the chance to see them in their natural habitat.

Here's a photo of a Thresher Shark... unfortunately I didn't get any good underwater shots of the real thing so this is a carrot version. Basically the same thing.


Thresher Shark
Thresher Shark

2. Gato Island.  We left the bright sunshine to swim down into the Gato caves where it was completely black except for the small circle of our torch lights. The best bit was moving my torch to find it land upon two 5ft white tipped reef sharks right in front of us. We also watched, mesmerised, as a huge shoal of mackerel glimmered in the sunlight like silver. I have a video, but it really doesn't do it justice:



video


After the dives, we wandered around the island where we saw whole rows of washed up damaged boats and rubbish from where Typhoon Yolanda had left her mark. There were lots of men building new boats and renewing old ones as their children flew their kites along the beach. 


Malapascua Island


Eventually we found our way to an idyllic bar where we spent the evening watching the sunset and drinking cocktails. 


Malapascua Island





To anyone interested in diving, I would recommend visiting Malapascua. It was a good little getaway, but with the travel time we could have definitely done with another night on the island!